Russia 2018 Watch: Clinical Colombia put Poland out
PUBLISHED: 09:30 25 June 2018
Read our World Cup blog over the coming weeks. Lane Dias reviews game three on day 11 of the tournament
Poland and Colombia have met on five previous occasions, albeit in friendlies, with the South Americans triumphing three times to Poland’s two.
And Los Cafeteros had won the last three meetings, which have been decided by a one-goal margin.
Poland manager Adam Nawałka’s final international match as a player came against the Colombians, in what was the first-ever contest between the two sides back in 1980 in the Colombian capital.
The scoreline that day was 4-1 to the Poles and Nawałka was hoping for a similar result this time around on what will be Colombia’s 20th match overall in the tournament.
La Tricolor had played once previously on the June 24, triumphing 4-1 against Japan, with Juan Cuadrado and James Rodríguez, who both started this match, on the scoresheet. And they were in for another three-goal victory.
Both sides had been defeated 2-1 in their opening matches of the tournament, Poland by Senegal and Colombia by Japan, and were in search of a victory to realistically keep their World Cup hopes alive.
The match was more of stop-start encounter, as a result of several niggly fouls, especially in the first half.
The physicality obviously took its toll on a few players, including Abel Aguilar, who had to be stretchered-off with an injury in the 31st minute.
Five minutes before the interval, Colombia opened the scoring when Yerry Mina headed home from a terrific Rodríguez cross, following a corner.
The goal meant that Poland failed to keep a clean sheet in 10 World Cup games – their last coming in a 1-0 victory at the 1986 Mexico tournament against my beloved Portugal.
Poland’s Robert Lewandowski cut an isolated figure up front but had a good opportunity to level the scores, 12 minutes into the second half, when he latched onto a cross-field pass, but saw his strike smothered away by Arsenal keeper David Ospina.
In the 70th minute, la Tricolor doubled their lead when Radamel Falcao slotted home with the outside of the foot after a fine through ball from Juan Fernando Quintero.
Having missed the previous tournament four years ago, ‘El Tigre’ roared in celebration after scoring his first-ever World Cup goal.
Five minutes later, Colombia found a third when Rodríguez’s eye of the needle pass found Cuadrado, who drove forward before slotting home past Juventus team-mate Wojciech Szczęsny.
It was Rodríguez’s second assist of the match – an achievement noticed by Bayern Munich’s Twitter, who were quick to congratulate their midfielder (on-loan from Real Madrid).
They posted: “Hi there, @jamesrodriguez speaking – how may I assist you?”
The defeat meant that Poland became the first European nation to exit the tournament.